High school coaches step away from their profession for a variety of reasons.
For some it’s all about the time commitment. For others it is a sense of getting burned out from the grind.
While Russ LeBlanc is stepping down as the head coach of the Susquehannock boys' lacrosse team, his reason for doing so had nothing to do with either of the more common reasons.
“My wife and I have been feeling for many years that God has a plan for us,” said LeBlanc, who led the Warriors to a total of four York-Adams League division titles as well as a league playoff title back in 2011. “And we’ve been trying to navigate that path and figure out what it is.”
Heading to Florida: Ultimately that path has led LeBlanc, who has coached for over 20 years at the high school and club levels, to Florida.
“Things just started to come together really in the spring during the season for my wife and I to get into full-time ministry work,” he said. “So I’ve resigned from my teaching position after 23 years of teaching down in Baltimore County Public Schools. So, now I’ll be going full-time with the FCA, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, while starting a lacrosse program down there.”
No reservations: It is not uncommon for many people to have fears or reservations about making such a life-changing move. LeBlanc, who has six children including three that are currently high school-aged, and his family have none of those.
In fact, the opposite is true.
“They’re all excited about it,” he said of his family. “We all believe that this is God’s plan and we’re putting all of our trust in him.”
The move down south will end a lengthy run by LeBlanc that included two stints as the head coach at Susquehannock.
“I began coaching Susquehannock in the spring of 2005,” he said. “That was the club team at that time and then remained as they went into the high school level in 2009. In 2012, I stepped down for three years while I worked with local rec leagues coaching my children in the spring. Then the position at the high school level opened up in 2015 and I’ve been there until this past season.”
LeBlanc let his team know about his new direction near the tail end of the season. While it’s hard to say good-bye, LeBlanc will never forget the memories which included the program’s first-ever PIAA playoff appearance this fall.
“I’ll just always cherish the relationships and time that I spent with the players on the field,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to coach a great group of guys. And I always told them that stepping on to that high school field with him as their coach was always the highlight of my day. I’m proud that this season we were able to accomplish some milestones and achieve some things that had never been done before.”
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org